Data breaches are becoming more rampant by the day. During the first quarter of 2022, about 15 million data records were exposed through data breaches, which is a 37% increase compared to the previous quarter. And this highlights the need for businesses to adopt effective ways to protect sensitive data and maintain customer trust. A data breach can result in financial loss and damage a company’s reputation. Businesses can also face legal penalties and regulatory fines if they fail to properly protect customer data. To avoid costly breaches, here are some tips you can use to protect sensitive business data.
#1 – Conduct regular security audits and educate your workers
It is important to conduct regular security audits and to stay up-to-date on the latest security threats and best practices. That may include hiring third-party security experts like cyber security software companies to conduct a penetration test, or vulnerability assessment or regularly reviewing your security logs to detect any suspicious activity. Regarding employee education, the human element is often the weakest link in any security system. And that’s why you need to educate your employees on identifying and avoiding potential threats, such as phishing scams and malware. Ensure they are familiar with your company’s security policies and procedures.
#2 – Implement strong passwords and regularly update them
Strong passwords are one of the most basic and effective ways to protect your company data. You should ensure that all employees have unique and complex passwords and that they change them frequently. Of course, memorizing complex passwords can sometimes be challenging, so it’s best to encourage your workers to take advantage of online password managers.
#3 – Use encryption for sensitive data
Encryption is converting data into code to protect it from unauthorized access. It is especially important for storing data on portable devices such as laptops, smartphones, and USB drives. Encryption ensures that even if data is intercepted or accessed by unauthorized individuals, they will not be able to read or understand it. It is crucial for sensitive business data such as financial information, personal identification numbers, and confidential business plans.
#4 – Use a firewall and antivirus software
A firewall monitors and controls outgoing and incoming network traffic. It acts as a barrier between a private internal network and the public internet, controlling inbound and outbound network traffic based on security rules. Antivirus software helps to protect your computer from malicious software such as viruses, Trojan horses, and spyware. It scans files and incoming email attachments for known malware signatures and can use heuristics to detect new or unknown malware.
#5 – Regularly back up your data
Regularly backing up your data allows you to recover it in case of a disaster such as a hardware failure, cyber attack, or natural disaster. Be sure to store backups in secure locations on external hard drives, cloud storage, or other media types and test them regularly to ensure they can be recovered. Regularly backing up data ensures that recent changes and updates are captured and that you have multiple copies of your data in different locations.